Five Reasons That Make Colombia the Perfect Cycling Destination
If you are a cycling fan, chances are you have heard about Colombia. I mean, do you like cycling and have no clue of the birthplace of some of the greatest mountain climbers: the escarabajos? Impossible! Many people dream of riding in this paradise, but if you are one of those who don’t, then you will find five (of thousands available) reasons that make Colombia the perfect cycling destination.
Colombia has all kinds of landscapes. You will see mountains with all the existing shades of green. You will see extensive plantations of several crops. You will roll next to snowy peaks, where the perpetual snows will watch you pedaling. You will travel three mountain ranges in which the mountains will accompany you constantly. You will find jungles and natural parks with incredible vegetation. You will cross rivers of all colors and you will see the ecosystem that nourishes the region with water: the páramo. The best thing about all this is that in one day the landscapes you see can be very, very varied.
As I mentioned before, Colombia has three mountain ranges: the Cordillera Oriental, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Occidental. These are three mountain chains that cross the country, and that generate a perfect geography to ride a bicycle. Thanks to this distribution, you can build trips with long, medium and short but explosive hills. You can climb more than 4000 meters in a single ascent, or do it in multiple climbs. But also, within the valleys, guarded by the mountains, you can find great plains where you can demonstrate your talent as a rouleur. Isn’t this a paradise?
Cycling in Colombia is very important. It has been part of our culture for a long time. Wherever you go, you’ll find people riding a bike, whether it is for pleasure, for commuting to work or competing. It is a popular means of transportation. Going through the towns you cross with on the road, you will see kids riding bikes, as well as old people. Generally speaking, people like cyclists. Don’t be surprised if while riding a car passes and cheers for you, probably by calling you as if you were Rigo Urán or Nairo Quintana. If you don’t believe me, read what Travis McCabe wrote about his experience here.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the coffee. Colombia is a big exporter of one of the world’s finest coffees. And since cycling and coffee usually go together, here you can find yourself riding through coffee plantations. We even have a whole region called Eje Cafetero (The Coffee Axis)!
In Colombia, you can ride through the whole year. There are no seasons limiting your trips. By being in the Equator, we do not need to worry about avoiding winter and all the disadvantages that weather has. You can run away from the winter of your country (if it has), by coming to ride here. I mean, this should account as a good argument to want to come and ride here.
Ok, now we get more specific. Letras is part of many cyclists’ bucket list. It is a challenge that raises everybody expectations. One of the world’s longest climbs, Letras puts in front of you 80 kilometers of climb, in which you accumulate more than 4000 meters of elevation. You start below 500 meters above sea level, and finish above 3600 masl. Amazing, right? During this climb you get to meet all the available thermal floors. Believe me when I tell you: conquering Letras will change the way in which you understand and relate to cycling. Just by climbing this monster, coming to Colombia will have fulfilled your expectations.